How to make your mobile app a success

90% of mobile activity is now app-based, and as of June 2015, there were 1.5 million apps. However, while there are many new things we can do as a result of apps, by and large, apps haven’t changed the kinds of things we do – they simply change the way we do them.

How to make your mobile app a success

The way we consume information, make decisions, and communicate is rapidly changing. The explosion of mobile apps has played a key role in these changes, shaping the speed and convenience with which we can now obtain information in real-time.

For an increasing number of businesses, apps may be the only touch point a consumer has with their brand, as consumers move away from branch or store visits, or using call centres. Consequently, optimising interactions with an app could have strong implications on a business’ bottom line.

With this huge opportunity ahead for marketers and businesses, we conducted in-depth research on the mobile habits of 660 Australian consumers to understand the ‘core needs’ every successful app needs to address, and the ‘must-have’ features of apps that gain high levels of engagement.

The research found brands need to address at least one of three ‘core needs’ to create a successful mobile app. If the app doesn’t address one of these ‘core needs’, there is a high likelihood it will be viewed as unnecessary and add to the scrapheap of unused mobile apps.

It’s important for brands to assess mobile as a potential avenue to generate or deepen engagement with customers, as well as a potential tool to drive sales.

However, brands should also recognise that building ‘an app for that’ is not necessarily going to achieve these aims unless it enhances, simplifies or connects customers’ lives in a valuable way.

3 ‘core needs’ underpinning every successful mobile app

Life enhancers and boredom eliminators

Content that educates, enriches or entertains. e.g. games, infotainment, video/audio content

Daily simplifiers

Functions that make day-to-day activities easier. e.g. calendars, banking, food, news, and travel applications

Connection catalysts

Platforms that streamline or enhance the way we communicate and engage with each other. e.g. social media.

7 ‘must-have’ features for optimal app engagement

Almost 90% of mobile apps are discarded or unused after two weeks, meaning brands need to be proving their value and worth immediately, or risk their app going unused – we call this “surviving the 10-second cull”.

From the research, we found there were seven integral characteristics of apps that maintained longterm usage and thrived past the 10-second cull cut-off.

  1. Fit for purpose
  2. Easy to use and highly intuitive
  3. Data and memory efficient
  4. Long-term usefulness and relevance
  5. Smooth functioning - no bugs, crashes, dead links or glitches
  6. Fast to load and use
  7. Category/industry-specific features

A regularly used app could become a key driver of ongoing sales and marketing opportunities for brands. Marketers and businesses today have an opportunity to provide highly personalised experiences for customers and deliver information in a timely manner.

Brands that keep the customers’ needs at the core of their mobile strategies, including their apps’ design, functionality, communications, and payment options, will remain competitive and successful in engaging consumers.

Opportunities for marketers and businesses

If your business has an existing app or is planning to launch a new app, ask yourself the following:

  • Does it meet one of the three ‘core needs’?
  • Does it address all seven of the ‘must-have’ factors for engagement and performance?
  • Do conversations within your business about launching an app have a ‘core need’ as a key driver of how that app is developed or designed?
  • Can you invest in your app enough to keep it continually meeting a ‘core need’ and all of the ‘must-have’ features’?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of the above, your on the road to success. If you answered ‘no’ to any one of these questions, sooner or later, your app is going to run into problems. If you’re unsure of your answers, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and clarify exactly what problem your app is being built to solve.